Improve quality, part of quality project. Started out with course construction. Before the entire quality project. To evaluate whether the teaching at a university is good or bad, you always come back to the course, and what the teacher teaches in the classroom. Therefore we began focusing on this very early, in 1987 we began the university keystone course evaluation. The contents of the course evaluation were: quality of teacher, academic level of teachers, teaching team composition, and teaching content, also teaching materials. At that time, it was quite a simple process.
In 1987 we began to evaluate the key courses in each discipline, the obligatory courses. We began in 1987, and in 1988 we regularized the process, and added a competition to become “excellent courses” (优秀课程). In 1989 we had already had some experience with evaluation, and decided to expand the process. In addition to the excellent courses, and the keystone courses, every course had to pass the “standard course” (合格课程）test.
The standard test was very simple, a course had to have a standard teacher (or teachers), a syllabus, standard teaching material. So we wanted to get rid of those courses without a syllabus, where a teacher went all over the map. This was standardization of educational quality.
We continued this evaluation system until 1992, then XXX province bureau of education began evaluating key point courses, and continued for almost ten years. In 2000, they began evaluating and selecting excellent courses, This was done for the first and last time in 2000. Our school had five courses that made the provincial excellent courses list. After this first round, they were planning to evaluate again after a year, but by that time, MoE promulgated the TLCP.
The biggest difference between the TLCP evaluations system, and the previously existing ones were: it put focus on educational technology, ie. Developing internet resources, that was something brand new. The concepts of teaching teams, teaching contents, teaching methods, teaching principles, academic level of teachers, etc were similar to the previous evaluation methods, but with the added idea of sharing resources, which had a very important part in TLCP.
The ideal was that the entire course, and all its resources, should be online. But we are still far from this ideal. The ideal that all the material is online, and can be shared remotely. Each year, we’ll evaluate some of the courses.
This standardized the pedagogy in higher education. It improved the quality of teaching in the course, and all academic staff who teach would know what the national standards were for each course. 7 indicators for course quality. Teaching team, teaching content, should be quite new and complete, including experiential learning and experimental learning. Complete learning conditions (jiaoxue tiaojian qiquan). Teacher should have teaching materials, and also create some resources depending on the needs of the course. Reference materials. Or he/she can choose to use national excellent materials. Teaching methods, tricks/principles, These should vary depending on the needs of the course and the discipline. The most important is to be able to make the students study enthusiastically, Improve quality of teaching. Use appropriate modern educational technology (integrate with teaching method).
Because we are a normal university, we really prioritize pedagogy, the quality of our courses directly impacts the quality of our students, so it’s our tradition to strive to improve. Our school started very early with excellent course competitions, before there was a centralized policy. Only after the province began with excellent courses, then the national project.
In 2003, nationally only 100 TLCP. These courses had a long history of development. We entered one course in 2003, very early. Our school also has a tradition of XXX. Starting in 2003, the school began to focus more and more on creation of TLCP. 3 phases: construct, apply and use. We first make sure the courses are high quality before we promote them to the application, usually it’s courses with a long history of development. We also think about whether it’s strong enough to win in the provincial or national competition. Then we gradually improve the course. This is useful whether we apply or not. Then we let the courses be selected as university-level TLCP.
In this case, there is some money available, and some technical support to improve it further, so we can propose it for the provincial competition. If we are successful there, it tells us that the course has a certain level of quality. Then we might promote it to the national competition. Since it’s a competition, we have to have good communication between the teaching affairs office, the course team, and the educational technology office. The most important people are the teachers, they create all the material for the course. We coordinate between different levels. The ed tech center helps with websites and servers.
One strength of our school’s approach is that we have a “pre-application” process. All XXX departments in the university can propose courses, and these courses all get a small amount of money for development. We work on developing these courses for 1-2 months, and after that, we create an expert committee composed of internal and external experts that begin evaluating the courses, mainly based on the internet material. Experts from other good universities in the region.
The internal campus commitee discusses the strenghts and weaknesses of each course, especially where there is a difference in opinion with the external experts. The best courses are proposed as provincial and national courses. The teachers who have already had a course accepted as provincial or national TLCP also contribute to share their experiences of the process.
The courses that are selected for this internal process are courses that are already impressive, many have gone through a period of ten years of development. But their online material has to be developed to reflect the class well, etc.
All courses have to be developed by teaching groups, composed of old, middle-aged and young teachers, should have post-doc, doctoral student, MA graduate. Graduates from different universities, with different honours.
Very different from for example Germany with their chair professors, here the old professor is responsible for teaching his/her replacements. IN bigger classes, can also divide the teaching responsibility with different sections, etc.
We also listen in on classes. Students evaluate teaching materials. We evaluate teaching effectiveness, made up of several components: students evaluating the teaching materials, then we have a supervisory committee made up of very experienced and retired teachers, go listen to classes, then peer-review by teachers at the school, who listen on classes. The academic affairs office very seldom get directly involved in evaluation, we trust the results from experts. We just coordinate. We take all this into account when deciding which courses to be made university TLCP.
Excellent campus courses
We kept running these competitions until 2005, then we wanted to focus more on TLCP, so we stopped. We made a plan for how many TLCP we want to achieve. We want at least 30%. Currently we have XXX courses, so XXX should be TLCP, this is a big focus for us. It already encompasses the requirements for excellent courses, and the requirements for TLCP are higher.
Our country also has a bilingual model courses,
Uni-level courses are only open internally. Province and national-level have to be open.
Right now we are spending a lot of energy to try to put up a recording of every lecture from each course, not just a representative one, that takes a lot of time. Right now XXX TLCP.
Our goal is to get XXX courses between 2012 and 2015. To get to 30% of our courses, we have to get to XXX. We are focusing on campus-based courses. A new goal: all obligatory major courses should be uni-level TLCP .
There is a limit to how many courses we can apply for each year, and there is also a limit to how much the university can afford. Currently about 40 courses per year. But the most important is quality, last year we aimed for 40, but ended up with only 20, because many courses didn’t reach the quality - that’s the most important.
Each course that becomes province or national TLCP, we have to spend money - only part is covered by the funding.
We control TLCP courses each year, to see if they have updated the material. All heads of departments participate, we want to see if the courses reflect the most up-to-date teaching situation, and the most updated findings in the field. All heads of depts sit around a table, open one course after another, check how much has been updated, if it hasn’t been updated enough, they have to explain why.
Banquan: can only look, cannot do anything more with them.
Now the provinces and the national gov’t are more focused on sharing, providng a service to the people. Initially they focused more on the application process, because there were not many courses. Jingpinke.com
This is nothing revolutionary, we’ve always had to share, but now there is much more emphasis put on it.
What is the effect of TLCP program on courses at XXX? It’s been an improvement, standardized quality of courses and teaching. Example of a course, before TLCP it was very standard, not much discussion in class, now it become provincial TLCP, going through this process, the teacher’s pedagogical ideas changed a lot. They put recordings of all lectures online, so students who don’t understand everything during class can slowly watch them again after class. They also have a blog where the teacher can leave homework, and students can communicate with him outside of class.
Students and teachers are able to community much more outside of class as well. Make available resources that could not be shared in class room. Training teachers. Before four teachers, all go to their own classrooms, don’t go to listen to other people’s classes. Now we can all discuss around one platform, research according to TLCP national norms, that why the contents of our course will be improved. The teachers also become better at using educational technology. They can also leave some very valuable resources - all universities have some famous and old teachers, but when they pass away, the only thing left is their notes, if you want to hear their voice, attend their lecture, you cannot. TLCP gives us the opportunity to preserve this, record your lecture, people can always attend in the future.
Most of our courses now have websites as well.